News Release

Ozark Riverways asks for assistance to prevent arson

a wildfire burns on a hill at night with firefigher in foreground
NPS and local firefighters work to contain a wildfire near Welch Spring in 2018. Though not believed to have been caused by arson, the wildfire destroyed the Welch Lodge.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: April 13, 2020

Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814

Van Buren, MO -    Ozark National Scenic Riverways asks for assistance from the public to identify those responsible for a recent wildfire and to prevent future arson in the park. 

Each year, several wildfires within the Riverways are caused by arson. While carefully planned prescribed burning has a variety of benefits for Ozark landscapes and ecosystems, wildfires caused by arson have the potential to damage natural and cultural resources, historic structures, and private dwellings within the park boundary. Landmarks such as the Wallace Barn near Devils Well, consumed in an arson fire in August 2016, are forever lost. Responding to wildfires also puts the lives of firefighters at risk. Recently, the Pot Hole Wildfire, near Pulltite Campground, burned within sight of a private dwelling that had been rebuilt after a previous wildfire destroyed the original cabin.

The National Park Service is offering up to $10,000 for information that leads to convictions in arson cases.  If you have information that can help catch arsonists, please provide as much information as you can about the suspected arson, including:

• Location, date and time of the fire

• Description of vehicles or persons observed at the scene

• Name of persons responsible or involved

• Any other pertinent information

• Caller’s contact information for reward purposes

Use one the following methods to relay your information:

• Call or text the Investigative Services Branch Tip line at 888-653-0009

• Report online at and click “Submit a Tip”

• Email to

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees who care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Last updated: April 6, 2020

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


573 323-4236

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